Saturday, 23 March 2013

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream

Recently I decided to spend some of the many Boots points that I'd collected. Part of the reason why I always end up collecting points until I have £20 or £30 worth is because I find it hard to decide what to spend them on, because there are just too many options! But this time I stumbled across something that I knew I really wanted to get.

I got a tub of Yu-Be moistuirising skin cream (70g). Established in 1957, this is one of the longest and best-selling skincare products in Japan. It was invented by a pharmacist called Yoshikiyo Nowatari, on the request of a woman who wanted something for dry, cracked skin but was tired of all the ineffective and messy petroleum-based products.

There are a couple of reasons why I went for this. Firstly, I love all things Japanese, and this is apparently Japan's No 1 - selling skincare cream so it was exciting for me to realise I could actually get this in the UK. Secondly, I have dry skin, eczema-prone skin, and have been looking for something in particular to soothe my lips in this crazy cold weather, and apparently this cream is very multi-purpose and works just as well on your face, lips, or any dry patches on your body.

The magic behind the cream is that has a high glycerin content, which helps to hydrate the skin. It has no artificial colours, fragrances or petroleum. The ingredients in the cream have the following properties:
  • Glycerin: a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin
  • Vitamin E: anti-oxidant and skin protector helps aid healing and reduce scarring
  • Vitamin B2: helps to smooth rough or damaged skin
  • Camphor: helps soothe irritation
  • Vitamin C: anti-oxidant and and skin protector helps to improve elasticity in skin

So far, I have loved using this. At first I was a little bit apprehensive because it has a really strong camphor scent (think Carmex!) and it is a thick consistency and yellow in colour, reminding me of butter or fat; but in fact it is lovely to use. Firstly, the camphor scent fades in a few minutes. I actually like the smell of camphor but I was just worried about putting something that strong-smelling on sensitive skin, but it was fine. Secondly, the cream absorbs almost instantly, so there is no greasiness; but equally you can feel that there is a 'barrier' on your skin preventing dehydration. For example, when I use vaseline as a lip balm I have to reapply all the time as it wears off really quickly; but if I use this my lips feel hydrated for hours. I've been using it on my face before bed, and it really feels like it locks moisture into the skin - my skin feels soft and soothed in the morning.

I think I'm going to try the cream on some dry patches on my feet too, as they're not as soft as they used to be since I started running!

I would definitely recommend that anyone with dry skin, who hasn't found their 'holy grail' cream yet, should try this. Not only is the science behind it sound, but it also works in practice. Anyone who's been recommended something by a doctor which just hasn't worked for them, will know that science doesn't always translate into experience, so it's great that this cream actually does that. I also think it's quite good value for money because you don't need to use very much when you apply it.

Yu-Be retails at £19.50 and is available from Boots.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lush Haul: February Retro, Valentine's & Mother's Day Products

One thing Lush does really well is make extremely covetable limited edition products... either for a special occasion or just for the fun of it! This of course means that I end up snapping things up as I know they won't be around for very long. Then, inevitably, I fall in love with something only to realise that it's no longer available. It's quite a masochistic exercise really, haha! Posts such as this will more likely than not become a regular thing. So here's the latest haul of limited edition products.

Valentine's Day
Tender Is The Night
From Dusk Til Dawn
Willow Pattern Soap (100g)

Massage bars are right up there with my favourite products that Lush make, so I was very excited to find out that there would be two limited edition ones for Valentine's Day. Massage bars are essentially solid body moisturisers - they're very rich, with a base of cocoa butter that melts upon contact with the skin. They're fantastic for dry skin as you can imagine. They also hold fragrance very well, both in the bar and on the skin. And the fact that they're naked products (I keep most of mine in reusable tins) means that there's less packaging, which is kinder on the environment (the 'plastic' pictured is of the biodegradable kind). Of course I had to get these two limited edition bars.

Tender is The Night: this has one of my favourite scent combinations of all time - vanilla and jasmine - yum! The heart-shaped bar has a liquid centre so I predict it being very messy to use. But that's a small sacrifice to make for this delicious scent. It's just a shame the thing is so small! I can't see getting more than 2 uses out of this one which is rare - usually massage bars last me absolutely ages.

From Dusk 'Til Dawn: has a slightly odd conical shape. I imagine it will be quite unwieldy to use. It looks more like a bath melt than a massage bar. It has a very zesty, uplifting scent of sweet wild orange oil and Sicilian lemon, and includes energising ginseng and guarana powders. Can't imagine anyone falling asleep after a massage with this one!

Willow Pattern Soap: This is scented with a fragrance called 'A Thousand Rose Petals'. I'm sure I've said this before, but rose is one of my favourite floral fragrance so buying this one was a bit of a no-brainer for me. The soap chunk is really pretty - but the whole ones in the shop were even more stunning, looking like a giant blue and white china plate. I prefer the creamier formula of Lush soaps like this one, so I'm sure I'll enjoy using it.

Lush also released a few other bits for Valentine's Day: The Kiss, a vegan pink lip gloss, Foxy Knot Wrap (sooo cute!) and a few gift sets, all pictured below in the Lush Times.

Mother's Day
Secret Garden Ballistic
Mumkin Bubble Bar

Secret Garden: a rather small ballistic but it smells very strong and is a vivid green so I'm sure it will scent and colour the bath very well despite its diminutive size. It's packed with flowers that will be released in the bath and smells of rose and orange. A very aromatic secret garden!

Mumkin: this thing looks absolutely adorable, did it come out of an enchanted forest perhaps? No idea what planet this creature is from but I love it nonetheless. It has a raspberry scent and I'm sure it will make a lovely pink bubble bath.

Over the past few years Lush have always brought out ballistics that look like flowers for Mother's Day, and they did the same this year. They used the same scents as their bubbleroons (rose jam, green, yuzu & cocoa) for these ballistics. They also released The Washing Up Fairy for you to clean the dishes with whilst your Mum enjoys a nice bath! There were a few little Mother's Day gift boxes. The Mother's Day range is pictured below in another page from the Lush Times.

February Limited Edition Retro
Romance in a Stone
Spank Me with Saplings

Lush have started doing a monthly limited-edition retro range, which brings back old favourites for a limited time only online. I've been using Lush a while now, but nonetheless each month it's usually a mix of things I've tried before and things I haven't. The two I items I bought this month I'd never tried before.

Romance in a Stone: a pretty little ballistic - it looks like the old favourite Tisty Tosty but in the traditional shape of a ballistic rather than heart-shaped. I love any ballistic with 'bits' in it, especially pretty flower petals, so I'm sure this will make a beautiful bath. I just think a few well-chosen 'floaty bits' in the bath really adds to the experience, even if you do end up having to pick it out of the plug hole afterwards! The ballistic fizzes away to reveal a sonnet, so you get some reading material at bathtime too.

Spank Me with Saplings: is a shower jelly, another one of many fun, unique products Lush make. It feels just like a jelly you would eat, except you rub it between your hands or into a shower puff to get a lather and wash with it. This one is quite an unusual scent combination of being both zesty and woody - it contains oakmoss and black pepper. It smells very invigorating so I'm looking forward to jumping into the shower with this.

Other products they released for retro in February were Ooh La La, a lovely French lavender and rosemary scented soap; Magic Mushroom which is a cute toadstool-shaped bubblebar that smells of strawberry and vanilla; and Strawberry Feels Forever, a strawberry scented massage bar. In a rather disorganised fashion I've completely lost track of what I actually have in my giant stash, but I definitely still have some Ooh La La and Strawberry Feels Forever from before they were discontinued, whenever that was. I really should do an inventory of my Lush collection again soon so that I actually know what I have!

A few of the products mentioned in this post are still available on the website, and some may still be in your local shop too. The Easter range of products is currently in stores as well.

Glossybox: March 2013

It's not even been a month since the last one arrived on my doorstep, but the March Glossybox already landed on Monday this week. I'm not complaining, I'd rather not wait any longer than I have to for my monthly box of surprises!

This month's theme is City Chic. The box comes with this cute little travel book, which includes mini guides for a number of international cities. I love to travel and I'm actually going to a few of the destinations in the book over the next year or so (Berlin, Vienna, Tokyo) so gladly the book won't be purely theoretical. It's scrap-book style with lots of snapshots and little scribbled facts - also space to write your own notes and a set of stickers in the center. A very well-designed, nice little extra to go with the products in my opinion. As always the box also came with a leaflet explaining the products within.

Top: My little travelling book; Bottom: Product Guide leaflet

A peek inside My little travelling book - Amsterdam!

Unsurprisingly London, my home town, is also featured in the guide; so apparently I am already in the perfect location to go for the city chic look the products have been chosen for! The products in my box are:

Couture La La Eau de Parfum by Juicy Couture (1.5ml)

On the whole I feel much more enthusiastic about this box than last month's. I'm glad there are fewer makeup products because colour is such a personal thing, it's easy to end up with something that's not very 'you'. I've not used any of these products before, which is perfect - one of the reasons I subscribed was to try new things after all.

I've never used anything by Elizabeth Arden before, but this cream is a bit of a classic. I like the fact that it is multi-functional, and can be used for dry lips, hands or the face. It is a pretty small sample but apparently a little bit goes a long way. I just hope the sample is big enough to give me a sense of whether I really like the product or not. This will probably go in my overnight bag as it's the perfect size for that (ie. tiny!)

Shockingly I've never tried any Nails Inc. polishes before! But of course I've heard good things so I was excited to try this one. St. James looks like a classic red - nothing too exciting but equally not something you can ever really go wrong with either. I tried it last night and you can see the results on the thumb nail that crept into the middle picture above!

Couture La La "blends sparkling mandarin with bold white florals". I'm not really a huge fan of perfume samples because if I want to try a fragrance I can just go to a counter, get a spritz, wear it to see how the fragrance develops and then decide whether I like it or not. I don't need a 1.5ml vial to decide if I want to buy the full size. The only time I see the value of samples is if a fragrance is not readily available to try in a shop and all you've got to go on is a written description online. I'm generally quite particular about my fragrances and I'm afraid this one from Juicy Couture just doesn't do it for me.

The Tresemme hairspray I think I'll get on with but, and I know I've said this before about Glossybox, it's hardly high-end is it?! I don't mind too much as I've always found Tresemme products really effective and do buy them from time to time, but still.

Continuing on the theme of not-exactly-high-end: The Jelly Pong Pong lip blush looks like a knock-down version of a Clinique Chubby Stick. It retails at £12 so not exactly cheap but the packaging sure feels it. I'll try not to knock it too much before I've tried it (literally not knock it for fear of breaking the packaging!); it claims to be moisturising and sheer so I think I'll probably really enjoy using it actually despite not having the best first impression of it.

Ending on a positive note: I am feeling relatively low-levels of 'glossybox-envy' this month, so I think that's definitely an indication of a good choice of products this time.

I actually purchased a Darphin flash box from Glossybox recently as well and have been using those skincare products, so a review of that is on it's way soon.

Friday, 8 March 2013

This Month's Magazine Freebies

Just a quick post to point out a couple of pretty good magazine freebies that are available this month.

The Marie Claire April issue has a free Neal's Yard Bee Lovely Hand Cream (50ml) which retails at £10.

The cream blends organic honey and orange essential oil. I've not actually tried it yet but it smells sweet and zesty! Purchases of this hand cream help to support Buglife, Landlife and Pesticide Action Network UK in their work to protect bees. A pretty important campaign given how in recent years honey bee populations have been declining around the world for a variety of reasons that are still being figured out.

Marie Claire also includes a 20% discount coupon for Neal's Yard valid until 3 April 2013.

The Glamour April 2013 edition comes with one of four  Percy & Reed haircare products.

Left to right these are: Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish (100ml), Smoothed, Sealed & Sensational Volumising No Oil Oil for Fine Hair (30ml), Really Rather Radiant Colour & Shine Shampoo (100ml) and Really Rather Radiant Colour & Shine Conditioner (100ml).

There are some good natural ingredients in these like grape seed oil, aloe vera gel, raspberry oil, horse chestnut extract etc, so I'm looking forward to trying the range. I can't get enough of hair oil at the moment so I'm particularly intrigued by what this no oil oil will be like. I don't have fine hair by any means, but I don't see how any oil-type hair product can be volumising so I reckon it should be ok! Glamour costs £2 so I think £8 to try all these different products from the range is pretty good; and although they're not full-size they are very generous 'samples'.

This month's Good Housekeeping Magazine comes with a free Balance Me Super Moisturising Handcream I believe, but I've not got my hands on that one!

I'm sure all these freebies will disappear off the shelves pretty quickly so if you want them, grab them while you can.

I'll post my thoughts on the products once I've had the time to try them.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Atrixo Intensive Protection Cream

I am a bit of a hand cream fiend - I always have a tube of something to hand (excuse the pun). At work I currently have Soap & Glory Hand Food at my desk; in my bag I have L'Occitane Desert Rose Hand Cream, which I'm a little bit in love with (rose is one of my favourite scents), but sadly I think it's a limited edition that they don't produce anymore. My one staple that I always re-buy is this Eucerin Intensive Treatment, which isn't strictly a hand cream but is brilliant at keeping any eczema and dryness at bay.

Particularly at this time of year when the cold weather has such an impact on your skin, I get through a lot of hand cream. I'm always interested to try different ones, so when I found myself with a discount voucher for Atrixo, I bought their Intensive Protection Cream.  They're not a brand I'd particularly paid attention to before, but it looked like a good non-nonsense hand cream which is exactly what I needed.

It contains aloe vera and forms a protective layer to protect your skin from the wind, cold and other elements found in the great outdoors!

I've actually been using this every night before bed rather than before going out in the cold, but I have been really impressed with it so far none the less. It has a really rich consistency so you don't need to use a lot - this tub will last a long time. The first time I used it I took what I thought was a pretty normal dollop of hand cream but ended up moisturising most of my lower arms with it because a little bit of this goes a very long way. The scent is nothing to write a home about, nor is the packaging, but it doesn't matter because this product does exactly what it says on the tin. It definitely helps to repair some of the damage done to your hands during the day; I've been waking up with very soft, moisturised hands.

I'd definitely recommend this for anyone who suffers from very dry hands in the winter. It retails at a very reasonable £4.59 and is available from Boots and Superdrug.